Marie I. Kaiser (Universität zu Köln) and Beate Krickel (Ruhr-Universität Bochum):
The Metaphysics of Constitutive Mechanistic Phenomena
The central aim of this paper is to specify what the ontological nature of constitutive mechanistic phenomena is (i.e., of phenomena that are explained in constitutive mechanistic explanations). After identifying three criteria of adequacy that any plausible approach to constitutive mechanistic phenomena must satisfy, we present four different suggestions of what mechanistic phenomena might be that can be found in the mechanistic literature. We argue that none of these suggestions meets the criteria of adequacy. Rather, constitutive mechanistic phenomena are best understood as what we will call “object-involving occurrents”. On the basis of this notion, we clarify what distinguishes constitutive mechanistic explanations from etiological ones and which spatial and temporal relations exist between mechanistic components and the phenomenon that a mechanism explains.